The U.S. unemployment rate is currently 4.4%, nearly its lowest point in a decade. While the unemployment rate reflects the millions of Americans who are out of work and actively seeking employment, the measure does not fully capture the degree to which Americans are unable to find the jobs they want.
In addition to those seven million Americans captured by the traditional unemployment rate, there are millions more who are working part-time jobs because they could not find full-time employment, as well a large share of workers who have recently given up on their job search altogether and are now marginally attached to the workforce.
> Underemployment rate: 10.1%
> June unemployment rate: 5.0% (tied — 6th highest)
> Average wage: $52,462 (16th highest)
> Labor force growth: 0.7% (23rd smallest increase)
Some 10.1% of the Pennsylvania labor force is currently unemployed or underemployed, higher than the 9.5% national rate. Labor underutilization in the state is only slightly improved from one year ago, when 10.7% of the workforce was unemployed or underemployed. Labor underutilization has also yet to improve from the pre-recessionary level of 8.0% in 2006. Pennsylvania’s current unemployment rate of 5.0% is tied as sixth highest in the country. The slow recovery of the Pennsylvania job market is likely due to sluggish economic and population growth in the state. Pennsylvania’s GDP grew just 1.1% in 2016, less than the 1.5% national rate. Between 2011 and 2016, employment in Pennsylvania grew at an average rate of just 0.7% a year, the seventh slowest of any state.
The underemployment rate — a combination of unemployed job seekers, discouraged and other marginally attached workers, and people settling for part-time jobs as a share of the labor force — is a more comprehensive measure of labor underutilization, and this measure varies considerably across the country.
To determine the easiest and hardest states to find full-time work, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed underemployment rates in all 50 states with data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The underemployment rate ranges from below 7% in some states to over 11% in others.